Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy vs. Miserable

Last night, the Vocation Office and Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry co-sponsored Cast Your Nets! in Cincinnati. Archbishop Schnurr was invited to preside and preach to the gathered teens, roughly 350 in all. After the Mass, there were several requests for a copy of his homily text. He has graciously allowed the Vocation Office to host it over on the main site:

The gospel we have just heard are the opening lines of the Sermon on the Mount which, in the Gospel of Matthew, is the first major instruction of Jesus in His public ministry. These opening lines are customarily referred to as the Beatitudes. Each of the Beatitudes begins with the word “Blessed,” as in “Blessed are the poor in spirit” or “Blessed are the meek.”

Because Jesus spoke in the Aramaic language, sometimes it is difficult to find a word in the English language that conveys all the meaning of the words that He used. Thus, some translations of the Bible use the word “happy” instead of the word “blessed,” as in “Happy are those who mourn.” This, however, seems to set up a contradiction. By definition, isn’t a person who is mourning unhappy?

To understand better the Beatitudes, we need to go back to the culture of Jesus’ time. In the original language and cultural mindset of Jesus’ time, to make a strong statement automatically implied that the hearer should consider its opposite. Only then would the full meaning begin to emerge.

Thus, “Happy are the poor in spirit,” becomes “Miserable are those attached to earthly possessions.” And isn’t it true that an inordinate attachment to material things brings all kinds of misery, such as jealousy, workaholism, and even fear of loss? Rather than being dependant on material things, the poor in spirit have reverence for God and child-like trust in Him.


Pope's Example Should be Model for Priests

From EWTN's news' desk:

ROME, ITALY, January 27 (CNA) - Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genova, Italy said that priests should follow the model of Pope Benedict XVI in fulfilling their missions without fear of criticism.

The country's bishops were gathered in Ancona, Italy for the conclusion of their winter meetings on Jan. 27. Cardinal Bagnasco, president of the bishops' conference, gave the homily during the closing Mass in the city's cathedral.

"If the nihilistic culture tends to erase the interior life of people, priests must help the faithful to rediscover it," Cardinal Bagnasco. "And in this mission they cannot be afraid of incomprehension or criticisms."

"The example to follow is that of Pope Benedict XVI, who teaches us humility, the disarming clarity of the truth, the lucid wisdom of dialogue, the ardent prudence of action, freedom before the world and the courage that comes from knowing he is in the hands of God."


Friday, January 28, 2011

Understanding the Priesthood through the Theology of the Body

My latest runs today at Catholic Exchange:

“What does that have to do with the priesthood, Father?”

I like to think, as Vocation Director, I can tie just about anything back to the priesthood, if I really try; but in the conversation noted, there was no need to try, as the links were plenty evident, if you but scratch the surface.

In the early parts of his papacy, Pope John Paul II delivered a series of Wednesday catechesis talks on spousal love. Built on his reflections of the first chapters of the Book of Genesis and refined during his trips as a young priest and bishop in Cracow, these talks have been coalesced into a systematic series of theology, collectively known as the Theology of the Body. Groundbreaking in their scope of thought, these talks are beginning a revolution in Catholic thought, especially in our understanding of the theology of marriage and the mutual gift of self contained there-in. In many ways, Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body gives the theological underpinnings for the teachings expressed in Pope Paul VI’s 1968 Encyclical Humanae Vitae.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Around the Web: March for Life

So, I'm here in chilly and snowy Cincinnati wishing i was in chilly and sunny DC. Alas.

As I was driving over for early Mass at a neighboring parish, EWTN's Son Rise Morning Show was featuring short call ins from various regulars who were on the way or already in DC for the March for Life.

Searching around, I found a few things that seemed worthy of posting.

From my friend Emily, a reflection she gave a few years ago on the occassion of the March and an encounter outside a planned unparenthood clinic. Again proving that abortion really does hurt women, not help them.

Random searches show up wierd things: a reflection on seeing the reflection of a sister. hmm....

Catholic Musicians? Does such a creature exist? A note recieved:
I’m trying to get the word out into the Catholic blogosphere about some new music – I released my second album a few months ago, called “The Luggage of an Optimist” (based on a chapter title in GK Chesterton’s “Manalive”). I’ve been featured on a Catholic radio station out in Oregon, and getting opportunities here and there around the Boston area, where I work and live...
Any help (i.e. a blurb about the music on the blog) you might give to an emerging Catholic artist would be great! I know that word can spread pretty fast through this sphere –
Music may be found here:
And bought (in addition to I-tunes, Amazon, etc) here:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Batman the Priest?

What do you get when a Catholic PhD Biblical Scholar takes a look at the rebooted Batman movie franchise?

An awesome take that eventually compares Batman with the priesthood.

Long, yes; but still entertaining, thanks to Dr. Barber for posting!

(This is something my twin brother would call 'seminary humor,' I just think it's really 'Catholic Geek Humor,' and proud to share it!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Memoriam

This coming Saturday is a day of great infamy in the United States. The legalization of abortion at all stages by determination of the US Supreme Court in the decision Roe v. Wade has led to the slaughter of countless American lives.

Yet, it is hailed by some as a champion of women's liberty. I have met and counseled women who have had abortions, they are trapped, not freed, by this decision.

A couple things to read and reflect upon during this weekend's remembrances/memorials/vigils:

First, you know those 'life of the mother' exceptions that they keep trying to ram through to keep this gruesome procedure legal? Mary Kochan at Catholic Exchange has a wonderful response.

Proving the lie that these docs really are all about protecting women, comes reports from Philly that shows the truth behind the procedure. Jill Stanek, Pro-Life Warrior!

Eric Sammons (who has Cincinnati roots) makes the statement that this is more 'norm' than 'exception.

Finally, if you haven't yet, please read Abby Johnson's gripping tale of her conversion from Planned Parenthood exec to Pro-Life witness. FYI! There are 2 versions of this book: a Catholic and secular one. The one available at Amazon for the Kindle (which is what I read) does not contain her conversion to also rejecting the contraceptive mentality. I've linked to the Catholic version available through Ignatius Press. This book outlines how to approach the silent witness of prayer in front of abortion mills. As Abby said at this past year's Cincinnati Right to Life Banquet: 'I knew that it just wasn't right to have people praying, 24-7, in front of your place of emplyment.' It eventually worked into her heart and led to her crossing the line.

One last note, Cincinnati Right to Life is publicizing a 'Walk for Life' here in Cincinnati this coming Saturday, beginning at 11:00 AM at Cincinnati's City Hall to Fountain Square.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Around the Interwebs

I've had a few things collecting in the 'Post on Blogger' file, thought I'd clear that out a bit this morning.

First, from Adoro, comes an analysis of the Call of Christ in the Gospel of Luke, particularly apt during Vocation Awareness Week.

Second, in the midst of tragedy, a ray of hope. The Trappist Monks of New Melleray Abbey (where I spent my 2009 retreat) offered a child's casket for the youngest of the victims of the tragedy in Arizona. It was a gift of their 'Child Casket' fund, which offers appropriately sized caskets to families of children at no cost. Perhaps a gift to the fund in honor of Christina Green would be a fitting tribute?

Thirdly, and a little lighter: Bond, Father Bond. (The comments with potential titles are particularly funny.)

Fourth, why Vocations Awareness Week after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord? Fr. Fox, priest of the Archdiocese, has a great answer in his homily from this past Sunday.

Finally, ever wanted to know the impact on a family when a son heads to the seminary? This week's 'Vocation Issue' from the Catholic Telegraph features an article on our three transitional deacons and interviews with family and friends. (I featured this over at Cincinnati Vocations yesterday.)

OOPS! One more: have you prayed the Prayer for Vocations yet?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fr. Boeke, RIP

From the Chanellor:

We have received word that Father Anselm Boeke died today, January 7, 2011, at St. Charles Center in Carthagena. His funeral arrangements are as follows:

Reception of the Body: Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 12:45 p.m. at St. Charles Center, Carthagena (2860 U.S. Route 127., Carthagena, OH 45822, 419-925-4516). Celebrant: Reverend James Seibert, C.PP.S. Visitation until 7:00 p.m.

Vigil Service: Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Charles Center. Celebrant: Reverend James Seibert, C.PP.S.

Mass of Christian Burial: Monday, January 10, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Charles Center. Celebrant: Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr; Homilist: Reverend Vincent Hoying, C.PP.S.

Burial: Immediately following Mass of Christian Burial, burial will be at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cemetery, Cassella (6524 State Route 119, Maria Stein 45860-9599; 419-925-4775) Celebrant: Reverend James Seibert, C.PP.S.

I remember him as the last pastor of the little parish out in the country from my home town. He was a good, gentle soul, loved the Church, loved Our Lady, loved the priesthood.

If you could, please pray a quick prayer for this devoted servant who has gone to his rest after many years of toil in the Lord's Vineyard.

Introibo ad Altari Dei...

Last night, I had the opportunity, for the first time, to attend/assist/celebrate a Traditional Latin Mass for the first time in public. (While on retreat after Christmas, I said a daily TLM in private, which is much preferable, to me, than saying the NO in private, but I'll get to that in a later post, hopefully.)

Those following my twitter feed (@fatherschnippel) noticed the following yesterday, late morning: "Message to Cinci folk: TLM at OSM, 7:00 PM, tonight, Epiphany Solemn Mass, urs truly as Deacon"

Yep, first time: Deacon at a Solemn High Mass! A bit of training from a very good MC, and off we went. To say it is different than the NO Mass is, umm, selling it a bit short. I am still trying to get my head around the experience.

First thought: strangely, it is much harder to 'pray' this Mass than the NO as a priest. At least these initial run throughs (with rusty Latin), I am so concerned with the Rubrics, the hand positions, the genuflections, the kissing the altar, hand, etc., I'm trying to get through it rather than 'pray' it. In TLM, it is not about the priest, it is about the ritual, the ceremony, the prayers; entering into a timelessness, almost. The prayers are beautiful in their wording, if sometimes wordy, even in the Latin (which can really get me toungue tied!)

Another thought, from a friend who was attending her first TLM: Afterwards, as we were digesting the experience over sandwiches at Cinci's oldest bar, her comment was: 'It seemed, ummm..., more masculine.' The guys at the table agreed: if NO Masses were celebrated like that, there would be more vocations. (leading a participant to quip this morning in a note: "Father, have you told your boss and your other priest friends that a very orthodox mass (even NO) with a very rigorous/demanding altar server program would help encourage vocations?" Well, we know it, harder to implement.

The chants (and the choir was really great last night!) all reflect that timelessness. Certainly, in TLM, there is not a notion of 'I don't get anything out of Mass,' even the laity have to work to pray along.

Another buddy, also attending his first TLM, tried to follow along at first, but dropped the little red hand missal and just decided to soak it in. I think he was still trying to put it into words, too. (I really hope he was joking with the 'needed more "active participation"!' line!)

Anyway, there is another chance to see me ply the trade of the deacon tonight, for the monthly 'First Friday' Mass at Old St. Mary's in Cincinnati's Over the Rhine. Hopefully, I won't be quite as lost, be able to enter the prayer a bit more and ultimately, soon, be able to step up to the top step of the altar and bat leadoff for the Solemn High Mass.

As a contrast, since I hadn't had my own Mass yet, I then celebrated a Low Mass at the same alter, with just two servers and maybe a few others at first in the Church. At least there, I was mostly getting the hang of things.

Finally, my friend (who commented above on the masculinity of TLM) was finally able to give me my birthday present, only a month late, but still appreciated: a center Altar Card she had picked up at a thrift store. Not to decorative, just pretty simple words hadn written on a paper, mounted in a frame. Awesome! And it will be very helpful at the home chapel, where we didn't have the cards yet. Mass intention for her today!

UPDATE: Fr. Z picked this up here. He highlights the beauty and the difficulty of this Mass: It wieghs upon the priest, it makes demands of both the priest and the people, it takes a while for things to get comfortable, routine. Isn't our prayer life much the same?

To be fair: the 'active participation' comment was firmly toungue in cheek

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

'Miracles still happen'

Mom sent me the news clipping from the Lima Daily News with the following article, a snippet:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. | The Rev. Jerry Bruggeman wept the other day when he saw his golden chalice.

It was stolen 22 years ago.

Bruggeman, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was given the chalice, engraved with his name, on the day of his ordination in 1949. He used it for 40 years during the Eucharist until it was taken from a cabinet of chalices at Corpus Christi Catholic Church on North Cascade Avenue.

The chalice was returned to him earlier this month, and after some refurbishing, it looks nearly as good as new.

"Miracles still happen," Bruggeman, 87, said.

It is customary for priests to receive a Eucharist chalice on the day of their ordination. The gift can be as special to them as wedding rings are to married couples.

Bruggeman's family funded the chalice, which is gold-plated silver with a strip of black onyx. On the bottom is engraved a blessing to Bruggeman's family that ends with, "Rev. Gerald Bruggeman, Ordained May 26, 1949."

In 1988, someone broke into Corpus Christi through a side door and stole the chalice, the only item taken, Bruggeman said.

Archdiocese of Cincinnati Vocations Prayer

In the January edition of Clergy Communications, the internal newsletter for priests and staff of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Archbishop Schnurr has penned the following prayer for use in the parishes and institutions of the Diocese as a way to promote a culture of Vocations in the Archdiocese:

Almighty Father,
You have created us for some definite purpose.
Grant us the grace to know the path
You have planned for us in this life
and to respond with a generous “Yes.”
Make our archdiocese, parishes, homes and hearts
fruitful ground for Your gift of vocations.
May our young people respond to Your call
with courage and zeal.
Stir among our men a desire and the strength
to be good and holy priests.
Bless us with consecrated religious and those called to a
chaste single life, permanent deacons,
and faithful husbands and wives,
who are a sign of Christ’s love for His Church.
We commend our prayer for vocations to You, Father,
through the intercession of Mary our Mother,
in the Holy Spirit,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.